Edited by Jorma Larimo, Niina Nummela and Tuija Mainela
Chapter 16: Network brokers as a resource for ensuring acquisition integration
The chapter addresses the role of network brokerage in the integration of mergers and acquisitions (M & As). Brokers, as individuals that connect different unrelated sub-groups of a network, can play essential roles in M & A integration since their positions at the intersection of both organizations provides them with particular opportunities to promote inter-organizational relations during the post-acquisition period. This is particularly true for symbiosis acquisitions because they rely upon the deliberate emergence of interactions between partners. However, the identification of such actors and their characteristics has been largely neglected in existing research. We thus investigate in this chapter the properties and roles of such acquisition brokers, that is, actors who promote acquisition integration through the relationships they span across the boundaries of merging firms. In addition, as networks tend to evolve following an acquisition, the structural properties pertaining to each actor are likely to change, meaning that the population of acquisition brokers could change over the course of integration. Building on a longitudinal case study of a symbiosis acquisition, we identified acquisition brokers and their characteristics at successive points of time in order to understand how these evolve along the integration phase. Our findings lead us to extend the literature on human-related phenomena in merger integration, proposing a novel perspective on the notion of key people in M & As.
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